Monthly Archives: December 2008

Interesting Phone Calls at Work

A client called a few weeks ago and the following conversation occurred between said client and one of my employees. (Remember that I work at a boarding kennel for dogs and cats and not at a grocery store.)

Client: Hi, do you sell carrots?
Employee: Carrots? No.
Client: Really? You don’t have carrots?
Employee: No, no carrots.
Client: Oh, okay.

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Prayers for Baby Stellan

If you’re the praying sort, baby Stellan could use your prayers.  He has RSV (a respiratory virus) and his little body isn’t handling it well.  Head over to MckMama’s blog for more details and for updates.  Thanks!

Two Projects for 2009

While I was wasting time stumbling around the web searching for a new blog header (unsuccessfully, thus far) and downloading a trial of Photoshop, I came across something called “Project 365“.  The basic premise seems to be that you take a picture (or save a memento) every day for a year.  You can blog the results, scrapbook them, or just leave them sitting in a box somewhere, never to be seen again.  I really like this idea (taking a picture every day, not leaving the pictures sitting in a box) and I’m going to try and do it <s>this</s> next year (no point in starting a 365-day 2008 project on the 28th of December).  I had considered doing a self-portrait every day for a year, but I think I would get bored with that (maybe one a week would be better)?  I’ll try and post at least some of my photos here (not sure if I’ll get them all up).  When I do, I’ll tag them all with “Project 365” so they can be easily found.

While we’re on the topic of things to do in 2009, here’s another one I want to do – read through my entire Bible.  When I was at church today, I picked up a “2009 Divisional Bible Study Reading Schedule”.  There are seven categories (kind of like there are seven days in a week – how convenient!) – The Law, History, Psalms, Poetry, Prophecy, Gospels, and Epistles (that’s a fun word).  It appears to be a more “fun” take on other “read through the Bible in a year” things I’ve seen – rather than starting at the front of the book and reading X number of chapters a day, you get some variety.  There are all sorts of Bible reading plans out there – 30 days, 90 days, one year, three years, New Testament only, front to back, chronologically, and many others.  If you’re interested in finding one, look here, here or here or just do a web search for “Bible reading plan”.

Are you planning any year-long projects for 2009?  Want to join me in one or both of mine?

Think I’ve Been at Work Much?

When I closed my eyes to sleep last night, all I could hear was barking dogs. Barking, yipping, yowling, howling dogs. I think I’ve spent too much time at work recently.

Since we don’t have a whole lot of dogs for tomorrow morning, I managed to “get out” of working. I don’t have to be at the kennel for two whole days! It feels like I don’t have to go back for a week! I still have to work one of my other jobs (more on that later), but no dealing with barking dogs until Wednesday!

(In case you’re wondering, I put in about 33 hours Wednesday through Saturday, which really isn’t a lot, but I started at seven in the morning, took a break mid-day, and was there until almost 9pm most of those nights. I also put in a few hours today. Next week looks to be almost as busy.)

Merry Christmas!

I hope you are all having a Merry Christmas. All snug and warm inside, enjoying the lights, Christmas cookies, and most of all, fellowship with family (and friends). We’re essentially “done” with Christmas here. Last week, we spent five days with Weatherman’s family (they live about six hours away from us) and yesterday we had Christmas with my parents. Unfortunately, I won’t get to see my sister, her husband, and my niece this Christmas 😦 I think this is the first Christmas I haven’t been with my sister. Sadness. Such is life, though… We had a (mostly) great time visiting Weatherman’s family. It was cold, cold, cold there. We had a blizzard and lots of cold. We had a quiet Christmas with my parents last night.

I worked most of today, braved the mall to get a good deal (got $26 of Bath & Body Works products for only $3.40!), had a quick dinner at home, went to church with the weatherman, and then went back to work. I love the Christmas Eve service at church! All the good Christmas songs, the Christmas story, and the candlelight! And this year I got to enjoy it with Good-Looking Weatherman. Bliss.

Now Hubby is at work, so it’s just me and the fluffy Collie here at home. I played some Christmas music on my keyboard and now I’m listening to Josh Groban’s “Noel” CD (thanks, Mom!). I’m going to read “The Polar Express” and then head off to bed. My dad always read “The Polar Express” to my sister and I on Christmas Eve.

May you have a blessed and joyful Christmas!

Off to Visit Family

Posting may be scarce (or non-existent) until after the weekend. Good-looking Weatherman and I are heading out to see his family for an early Christmas. Enjoy the snow, stay safe, don’t get stuck in the ice storm. Or, if you’re not in the part of the country that’s getting dumped on with snow and ice, enjoy that too!

Goofy Dog

My goofy dog thinks snow, cold, and windchill values in the negative double-digits are fantastic. I took her outside tonight and she was bouncing around and oh-so-excited with the snow and ice. What a nut. Sorry, no pictures – I wanted to get back in sooner rather than later.

Vet Tech Job Growth & Average Wages

I’ve been doing some research on graduate programs for my husband and came across a website that lists average wages for my state. It also lists fastest growing careers. Veterinary technician is on the list of fastest growing careers in my state: growth is at 43.8% and the number of projected annual job openings (in my state, I believe) is around 130. In the US, the average wage for a vet tech is $14.48/hour. My state’s average wage is slightly higher at just over $15 an hour.

Done with finals

I am DONE with school for the semester! I just finished my last test about 10 minutes ago. The fact that I have no homework or studying for an entire month hasn’t really hit me yet. It’s so nice to be done, though. No more finals to take, tests to study for, weekly assignments to complete. Just work and home stuff for the next month.

I have one more semester to finish up (technically two since I have to do my internship). And after that I’ll relax for a while, then I’ll miss being in school and having the homework to keep me busy (or at least thinking I’m busy) and I’ll probably end up in school again. Yes, I plan to go to school for “College Part 3”. I want to finish up my bachelor’s degree so I can teach at the school I’m currently attending. Then maybe I’ll get a master’s degree. I haven’t decided about that one yet, though.

For my fellow students – good luck on any remaining finals and have a great break. Enjoy your time off.

Reader Question: Is vet tech school worth it?

Hey, I came across your blog while searching for vet tech info. I was wondering how much your vet tech schooling is? I’m trying to decide whether or not I should go to vet tech school. There are only 2 options in my area and both cost 30 grand and take 16 months. That price seems extraordinarily high for such little vet techs make. What is your opinion? Thanks!
Hi, Tiffany!

Good questions.  I’ll see if I can answer them for you.  The price listed on my school’s page is $480 per credit, plus various fees for labs, technology, and student services.  I can tell you, though, that tuition is higher than that – I believe it’s somewhere in the $500 range now (I try not to look too often) and it’s been going up every year.   There is a second school in my area that offers a vet tech degree and I believe they are a bit lower priced.  I spent some time talking with vets and techs in my state and ultimately chose the more expensive school because their graduates have a much better reputation than graduates from the lower-cost school.  Graduates from the more expensive school receive a much more thorough education and come out of school with more knowledge and a better skill set.  Oftentimes, they receive hiring preference over graduates from the lower-cost school.  My husband and I decided that it was worth it to spend the extra money to get the degree with the better reputation.

I would recommend trying to talk with some vets and techs in your area and getting their opinions of each program.  In your area, the programs may be about equal.  Maybe one is much better than the other.  Maybe one focuses more on small animals and the other focuses more on large animals.  It is definitely worth your time to do some research.  You can also try contacting your state veterinary medical association.  You will certainly want to make sure the school you choose is accredited.  If you don’t like either of the school options in your area, you can look in to distance learning programs.  I don’t know if the distance programs tend to cost less than the local programs, though.

One way to save some money on vet tech school is taking your generals at a community or state college and transferring them to the tech school.  Before doing this, you’ll want to check with the vet tech school and see exactly what courses you’ll need and then make sure they will transfer in.  I was in school for a bachelor’s degree before I went to tech school, so I had almost all of the required generals done, which saved me quite a bit of money.

Another way to save money is to find scholarships.  If you’re still in high school, work at maintaining a good GPA and apply for as many scholarships as you can.  If you’re not in high school anymore, or anywhere near high school, there are still scholarships out there, it just takes a bit more work to find them.  Check with your school’s financial aid office to see what scholarships the school offers.  Fastweb has a really extensive list of scholarships.  You will get overwhelmed looking at all the scholarships Fastweb lists.

vetassistanttraining1Now, on to your question about whether or not going into this field is worth it.  Obviously, you have to decide that for yourself, but I’ll see if I can give you some things to consider when you make that decision.  You not only have to love animals, but you need to at least be able to tolerate dealing with people (clients).  Enjoying working with people makes the job easier.  You will be dealing with them a lot.  And they will not always be happy.  They will be stressed, upset, or otherwise unhappy for any number of reasons (their pet is sick, their pet got hurt, their pet is bleeding all over, etc.).  Of course, really enjoying dealing with animals is important.  Like with the people, the animals will not always be happy.  And unhappy animals can really be difficult to deal with – they bite, growl, snap, urinate, defecate, express their anal glands, and can be flat-out difficult.  A love of medicine helps, too.  There’s lots of medicine and problem solving – why is the animal sick, what is causing the white blood cell level to increase, why will this dog not stop vomiting, etc.  Any diagnosis will be left up to the vet, but your job is easier if you can understand what’s happening and why it’s happening.

The pay is not fantastic.  From what I can tell, vet techs around here start between $10 and $15 an hour.  If you work 40 hours a week, $13/hour works out to$27,040 a year (assuming no unpaid vacation or days off).  So if you just run straight numbers and don’t think about what you love, being a vet tech doesn’t make a lot of sense.  But we both know there’s more to it than that.  You don’t want to be stuck in a job you hate.  If you’re the type of person who doesn’t need or want the latest greatest everything and you really do love the career, it’s may be worth it.

There are a lot of different job opportunities with a vet tech degree.  You are not limited to working with just dogs and cats.  You can work with farm animals, lab animals, zoo animals, wildlife, and pets.  There are jobs in nutrition, in research labs, zoos, wildlife centers, rescue facilities, boarding, animal shelters, and more.

I hope that helps you out some.  Good luck with whatever you decide!

Image credit: jbcurio